Korda, Finau shoot 56 in scramble format to lead Grant Thornton

Korda, Finau shoot 56 in scramble format to lead Grant Thornton
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NAPLES, Fla. — Tony Finau and Nelly Korda surged into the lead with an eagle-birdie finish Friday to post a 16-under 56 in the scramble format and take a one-shot lead in the Grant Thornton Invitational.

The first mixed-team event with the PGA Tour and LPGA was a day filled with plenty of laughs and birdies galore in the scramble format, where both players hit tee shots, pick the best shot and both play from the same spot.

“It was fantastic,” Finau said. “We had a lot of fun and hit a lot of great shots. I watched a lot of great shots, a lot of great putts.”

So did Korda, who was particularly impressed with the 9-iron Finau hit on the par-5 17th hole that set up an eagle.

“I got to see shots that normally I wouldn’t let’s say on the women’s tour,” she said. “That squeezer 9 you hit on No. 17 was absolutely incredible. It’s fun to see it firsthand, as well.”

Lucas Glover and Leona Maguire birdied their opening 10 holes at Tiburon Golf Club and posted a 57, tied with Denny McCarthy and Megan Khang.

Sahith Theegala, who won the tournament, then known as the QBE Shooutout, last year with Tom Hoge, this time had Rose Zhang as a partner. They were at 14-under 58, along with Canadian Open champion Nick Taylor and Angel Yin, who birdied their last seven holes.

Justin Rose and Charley Hull, and Jason Day and Lydia Ko also were at 58.

Some players didn’t meet for the first time since Tuesday for a practice round. Glover already was familiar with Maguire, but spent some time doing a little homework.

“I knew pretty early on, just get her on the green as close as possible and I wouldn’t have to putt much,” Glover said. “When I saw our pairing, I checked everything out, and I’d watched some of the Solheim Cup recently anyway. Play different tours, but I think we were familiar enough to know.”

The scramble format for the 16 teams produced 174 birdies and 14 eagles. The only score over par was Hoge and Cheyenne Knight, who made double bogey on the second hole. They finished at 6-under 66.

Saturday switches to foursomes, also called alternate shot, before the unofficial tournament concludes Sunday with fourballs.

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